Good news in housing: Chicago-area home prices on the rise, IMF calls for mortgage relief

April 23, 2012

Caroline O'Donovan

Download Story

In March, Illinois home prices increased for the first time since June 2010, ending a long streak of price decline. Average sale prices--around $130,000 according to the Illinois Realator's Association--match rates from March 2011 and other important indicators, such as decreased time on the market, also suggest that the housing market may be stabilizing.

The Chicago area has been identified as a good market for investors looking to buy foreclosed and distressed properties and develop them for resale, a classification that has contributed to the turnaround of the overall market. Analysts believe that the start of the spring selling season will mean improvements for sale rates across the board, although whether or not properties within Chicago are faring as well as surrouding areas is unclear. Barring major changes, such as an influx in the sale of foreclosed properties, there is confidence that sale prices will remain on the rise, a situation that should benefit home buyers and sellers alike.

For those who have questions about March sale prices in Illinois, Chicago magazine's Deal Estate columnist Dennis Rodkin will stop by Eight Forty-Eight and take phone calls from listeners - call 312.923.9239. Rodkin will also chat about International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde's recent call for mortgage debt relief in the United States.

At a Brookings Institute event last week, Lagarde announced that the U.S. housing issue is delaying international economic development, and suggested that relief from the foreclosure squeeze on American households could lead to faster market growth worldwide. The IMF has been calling for mortgage relief in the US since April 2011, and Lagarde says her support of principal reduction is long-standing. The renewed pressure by the IMF is welcomed by Congressional Democrats, who have been attempting to pressure Federal Housing Finance Agency head Edward DeMarco to seriously consider debt restructuring, to no avail.